Competition Whirlwind

Making it to Semifinals in Wilsonville, eliminations in Oregon City, our work being recognized with a Quality Award, nominating Steve for a Woody Flowers award, a rotating drive team, a bored pit crew, scouting efforts that mattered, and getting an invite to the Pacific Northwest District Championships in Cheney, WA! Wow!

It’s been an amazing season, and with our away team taking the ‘bot to Districts, it is not done yet.

When the dust settles we will update this website, in the mean time catch up with Team 957, SWARM on Facebook.

Want to design our next t-shirt and banner? Here’s how!

4 years of shirts

Modeling the shirts of SWARM:  2015 (Abby D), 2014/2013 (Jace L), 2016 (Nathan B)

You can design the team shirt/banner.

Every year, student team members have done our custom team shirt. The front features our name and artwork, the back our sponsors and mentors.

Mr Hales

SWARM Shirt beyond the arctic circle. Burke H

Last year we had several designs that the team voted on. Let’s plan on having the decision in mid-Jan, with the design finalized for the printer by Feb 1st (That’s the deadline for 2017 sponsors.)

You will need ‘camera ready’ artwork by mid-January. Here’s how-

Design your artwork using vector images. They are easy to scale up (do not become blurry, pixelated and the color holds true.)

I recommend Inkscape. It is free and available for many operating systems, including a portable version you can keep on a flash drive.

Check out the quick Inkscape tutorials by  Ryan Lerch. (You can ignore the Fedora specific info.)

Try downloading and changing our generic swag shirt .svg file. Istarbeegenericshirtt’s got a black template (thx that includes front and back.

You will want to design your work so it fits in a rectangle about 16″ x 12″.

We typically like to keep our shirts two colors (back and yellow) as it is a couple of dollars cheaper for each shirt. Leave room for additional sponsors/mentors on the back. Do not take images we do not have permission to use.  Work in this year’s theme.  And have fun!

OFD 2016 Gold Level Sponsor

2016 ofdAlways a pleasure showing off our robot to the good folks at OFD.

They use a lot of similar technology in their processing systems as we do on our robot, plus their’s tastes great. (FRC robots, not so much.)

OFD is a great supporter of STEM education in our community . From high school FRC, community college Mechatronics, to university MECOP, they are involved in with local programs.

OFD has been a sponsor of our team for many years, and it’s been a privileged to bring the team out to their location. They’ve been able to see students over their time in school with many having done several demos at the front of the building.

While we haven’t pushed anyone into the fountains yet, despite OFD engineers and VP’s driving the bot, that possibility keeps things exciting.




Veterans Day Parade 2016

Many thanks to the veterans for their service.


Today we participated in the largest veterans day parade west of the Mississippi. It is a super opportunity to show our support as well as participate in our community. We always get a great response from the crowd and this year was no different. From chatting to veterans about our team, to showing our robots to elementary school students, we are proud to be Albany high schools’ FIRST robotics team.

2016VDP1A big thank to Jim and the rest of the crew for putting together the float, truck, and trailer. It was great to have three robots to show.







Shop Cleaning


As you can tell, it’s been a while since the place had a good cleaning. Thanks to all the effort, we are now much more efficient; standardizing on common hardware, simplifying tool-sets, focusing on what we need, and building a team.

Plus, w2016electricdeske have a sweet, new electronics bench, with tools, outlets, hardware and storage bins right at hand. New electronics’ bench A big thanks to Eric for the plans, Lasso for the build, both of them and Joe for the materials….and all the students who helped.

Also a big thanks to all those who brought food for the effort. We had a well fed team!2016shopcleaninglunch


Somewhere North of Cheney, WA

HenryH’s dad is currently a member of the research cruise Sikuliaq 2016: The Dynamic Arctic. 



As far as I know, this is the furthest north a SWARM shirt has been, at least further than Portland. Kudos to BurkeH for SWARMing the far north, in shirt sleeves no less!

Be sure to check out their site: Sikuliaq 2016: The Dynamic Arctic. The pictures of the ship and life aboard make it look like the are living inside a robot.

Pleasing the crowd at the Oregon State Fair!


l-r RobinH, CalebS, JaceL, EricS, MelissaS, RiverH

Our 2016 robot taught us some great lessons, some that were hard earned during competition and others that had to wait until the time was right. This summer we had the time.

Hotwire Robotics put together a full 2016 Stronghold field at the Oregon State Fair and a bunch of the local team brought


l-r EricS, RiverH, JaceL, EmmaC, MelissaS, MarcellaN

our bots for public demos, drives, and a bit of scrimmaging.

While we spent many summer meetings getting ready, there’s always last minute things to do in the pits, and continuous maintenance once things got underway.

We decided to not attempt to climb, after our calculations showed we didn’t



have the power, so we put gloves on the hooks – which either makes the bot looks like it wants to give you a hug, of maybe something not so friendly.

That said, we gave all who wanted a chance to be in the driver’s seat.


l-r JaceL, BradyA, CalebS, MitchellG

The big surprise for us was not just  that we finally got the bot to pick up boulders and shoot under laboratory conditions, but during the fair we started using the camera to manually aim the bot and could consistently make the high goal. We got so good that we could even coach members of the general public to make the goal. We were even able to make the goal from beyond the defenses (not legal in the game, but a great demonstration of our strength.


Kudos to all who worked on the robot last year and this summer. It really is a winner.

l-r (Fair Crew) EricS, JohnN, MarcellaN, JaceL, MelissaS, EmmaC, RiverH, EricS, RobinS, CalebS.

l-r (Fair Crew) EricS, JohnN, MarcellaN, JaceL, MelissaS, EmmaC, RiverH, EricS, RobinS, CalebS.




SWARM’ing Frosh High School Reg.

Thanks to the team for getting the word out. We were at both South and West Albany high schools for Frosh registration.

Check out how to join.

West HenryH, CalebS, MelissaS

West: HenryH, CalebS, MelissaS

South: RiverH

South: RiverH

Yes, you can launch a boulder with the 2016 bot in F hall at West and not hit the ceiling. Yes, it will go from the cafeteria and maybe as far as the slope at the end of the hall. Yes, you can use the camera to drive the robot unseen. (With some help.)


HenryH and CalebS drive the bot down hallways with just the camera. MelissaS assisting.